Israel is financing flights and assisting illegal migrants with travel plans to both Rwanda and Uganda, Haaretz reported on Friday.
The unconfirmed report comes days after the state told a maximum-sized nine-justice High Court of Justice panel that two countries had agreed to take some of Israel's migrants, but left the countries' anonymous, at a dramatic hearing over whether to declare the state’s policy on the issue unconstitutional.
Migrants reportedly told Haaretz that Israel paid for their trips and gave them an initial financial package one-time payment of $3,500, but did not assist beyond that point.
V., an Eritrean who was living in Israel until he received payment to leave and was sent to Rwanda, spoke to Hamoked for refugeees and migrants, who he told that once he landed in Rwanda, he was only given a 10-day tourist visa. That didn't matter to him, however, because he wasn't optimistic of finding work within the country anyway.
The report, based mainly off of testimonies from asylum seekers, sheds light into the the state's latest push to deal with high numbers of illegal infiltrators into Israel. Although no official statistics on how many migrants have left Israel for Rwanda and Uganda are given, the report leaves room to believe that the state has found a solution that could potentially be a path for a very large number of migrants to leave.
Previously, there had been on-and-off reports for months that the state where migrants were being sent was Uganda, but the numbers of migrants leaving Israel in general and being discussed were much smaller.
The state’s policy, including placing new illegal migrants in closed detention for up to one year, but also allows placing up to 4,000 (so far) already in Israel in open detention for an indefinite period, was initiated in mid-December 2013 under pressure from a mid-September 2013 High Court ruling striking down the old policy as unconstitutional.
Since the new policy’s initiation, 3,988 migrants have left the country, including 1,510 in March alone.
The old policy included placing around 2,000 migrants in closed detention for three years before the state had to address their refugee status.